Healthcare organizations are finding that grateful patient fundraising is working in many instances. Gratitude does not have to stop with healthcare. Any organization must show its gratitude to those associated with the organization, be it staff, donors or advocates.
It also helps the fundraiser on a personal level.
Practicing gratitude was the focus during a session at the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals annual international conference in San Antonio, Texas. Alan Friedman, director of development at Fred Rogers Productions, talked about Mr. Rogers’s concept that everyone is in some kind of need and everyone has something to give.
According to Friedman, gratitude is recognition of goodness and recognition of external sources. He said research shows that people who show gratitude are more joyful and optimistic, more enthusiastic, energetic, alive and awake, have increased resilience to stress, intensified enjoyment of pleasurable experiences, bolstered sense of self-worth and self-confidence, and greater sense of purpose.
First gifts are like impulse purchases or first dates, Friedman said. When saying “thank you,” you need to be prompt, personal and powerfully demonstrate the gift’s impact. Use a lot more “you” than “we” in the discussion.
Remember that when dealing with a grateful patient you are giving them a chance to pay it forward. That gratitude is not just for donors but also for colleagues. It is key to retention and really the lowest-hanging fruit.
To truly succeed, you need to remember why you got into the fundraising business, Friedman said, you need to get back in touch with the big picture. Ask yourself: Why do I bother getting out of bed in the morning?
Communicate like Apple, i.e., stress not what you do, but why you do it. Impress upon your donors how, together, you’re making the world a better place.